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America is now a zombie state Demonic nihilism has infected the nation

We are all living in private caves (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

We are all living in private caves (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)


August 8, 2023   4 mins

“Every nation gets the government it deserves,” wrote the philosopher Joseph de Maistre, and some are getting it good and hard right now. De Maistre’s moral interpretation of politics admits of exceptions, but the United States in 2023 is not one of them. A wasting tide of bad education and corruption is rotting the cultural and constitutional piers that, since the Civil War, have kept the US above the waters of chaos.

The American regime has become a tawdry theatrocracy in which political actors, hypokritai in Greek, play stock characters in a loathsome farce. In the run-up to the 2024 elections, Donald Trump stars as the persecuted saviour, and Joe Biden the righteous defender, of the American republic. Never mind that Trump is self-absorbed and impulsive to the point of criminal stupidity, that Biden is senile and evidently corrupt, and that both of these braying, boorish old men are fraudsters and fabulists. These vices do not matter to their furious followers, who love their man precisely because he is not the hated other. Trump and Biden cannot, and will not, be separated; each needs his opponent as the hammer needs the nail. And above the wretched spectacle sit a click-hungry media, feeding on riot and picking favourites like vulturous pagan gods.

This drama of political decadence defies easy categorisation. Aristotle wrote that tragedy depicts people who are better, and comedy worse, than us spectators. Biden and Trump are certainly worse than those who voted them into office, but they are not remotely funny. Their antics are repellent and their goofiness unlovable. Observing them and the choral leaders that follow in their train — jerky puppets like Rudy Giuliani sweating hair-dye, or Anthony Fauci claiming to be science itself — Americans feel only shame and dread, without the cathartic release of laughter or tears.

These trapped emotions spring from the same source. They are visceral responses to the approaching death by senescence of the American experiment in ordered liberty. The problem goes well beyond presidential dementia. The US Senate (from the Latin senex, “old”) looks more like the waiting room of a geriatric neurologist than a council of wise elders. There’s Mitch McConnell, prone to falls and freeze-ups; wheelchair-bound and confused Dianne Feinstein; and John Fetterman, who at only 53 is less fit for public service than any other member of that formerly august body. It’s as if C-SPAN, a network that televises congressional hearings, decided instead to air absurdist, post-apocalyptic horror films.

The zombification of the Capitol — not to mention our city streets, which have become permanent encampments of the dazed and disturbed — is merely a symptom of the underlying disease. Like all institutions, politics falls apart without regular infusions of constructive energy. A modern democracy is healthy only if its major parties grow organically from their voters, representing their interests by habit and inclination even more than conscious effort.

But the grassroots politics Tocqueville admired when he visited the US in the 1830s gave way long ago to the top-down astroturfing of technocratic managerialism. Our governing elites represent no one but themselves and their cronies, and they don’t welcome shocks to the system. Insurgent candidates such as Robert Kennedy Jr. and Vivek Ramaswamy, whose public elevation of the concerns of many Americans aims to revitalise national politics, are censored and met with active resistance, even by their own parties.

It’s not just in politics that the wellsprings of individual and social vitality have dried up. Americans are marrying less and later, and having too few children, to reproduce themselves and the families that nurtured them. What is more, our public schools have largely ceased to transmit the accumulated knowledge and civilisational wisdom of the past to the children we do have. A taste for historical repudiation has taken hold across the culture, leading curators to “contextualise” art, city governments to take down statues, colleges to rename buildings, and publishers to censor or rewrite books. But creativity withers when it ceases to be nourished by the oxygenated blood of the tradition. Little wonder that Hollywood increasingly cannibalises its legacy by pouring old films into new plastic scripts.

Technology has exacerbated our national enervation. We have become charging-stations for our smartphones, which drain psychic energy with insistent distractions and overloads of information-babble. Video calls and work-from-home limit in-person interactions with actual existing individuals, who would otherwise be together for most of their weekly waking hours. Targeted advertising, fine-tuned algorithms, and politically stratified social media sharply decrease our exposure to new ideas. We are immuring ourselves within our own private caves, watching flickering images in darkness.

AI language-learning models offer a cautionary parable of these larger cultural developments. Programs such as ChatGPT, whose writing remains formulaic and prone to errors, learn by sifting through a sea of digitalised text, a growing share of which consists of AI-generated content. The predictable result of this feedback loop is the kind of levelling we’ve seen across our institutions. Like newspapers that drink their own ink — and which ones don’t, these days? — their product can only get worse.

Cultural exhaustion, social withdrawal, and the general enfeeblement of life forces are the practical expression of a will to nothing. There is a name for this spiritual and intellectual condition, and it is nihilism. Nihilism is demonic to the extent that the will to nothing is still a will, a life force. That it is only a negative one is by no means reassuring, because it is easier and more economical to tear down than to build up. Destruction is dramatic and accomplishes the illusion of vitality with relatively little energy. And who in this apocalyptic time, including the nihilist, doesn’t want to feel even a little alive?


Jacob Howland is Provost and Dean of the Intellectual Foundations Program at the University of Austin.


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Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
11 months ago

I think that feeling of wanting to destroy goes deeper than that. Institutions and systems not just in America, but throughout the Western world are fundamentally broken. You name it, dishonest media organizations, fracturing political parties, government bureaucracies considering themselves above the law, massive monopolized corporations etc. they all deserve the hate they get. The reason that so many rational people are at the point where they would not mind watching it burn is simply every single one of these systems or institutions have flat out refused to make the most basic of reforms. When large media conglomerates get caught telling lies on national television, do they change their behavior or blame all the people who noticed? When the working or middle class complain about losing their livelihoods to globalization while the wealthiest get richer, does economic policy change? Do Western governments ever keep their promises to learn from foreign policy failures or stop illegal surveillance programs? Given that most of you have come to places like UnHerd for a reason, I bet you can already guess the answers to those questions. I don’t think it is nihilism. I think it is the realization that those who run things see these broken systems as running just like they are supposed to.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Very good. Is not our problem the fact that we now inhabit a political universe in which politicians are unmoored from us and democratic consent (see 2nd Referendum; lockdown tyranny, small boats) and they in turn are unmoored from genuine rational thinking and in the grip of derwnged groupthink? Why do they not know what a woman is? Who voted for the myriad bans and a4bitrary untested controls of the Net Zero Regime? When was it aired and debated with the public? This is religion – not politics. It has more in common ideolgically with the irrational utopianism of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. Who voted for the convulsive revolution of non stop 1m p.a incoming population growth? With globalism tech and AI all spinning heads with revolutionary change from above, people expected the State and our political class to respond with cool pragmatic reason. But it is impossible to avoid the feeling that they have deserted the trenches. Irrational credos and some form of nihilistic hysteria is gripping the political legal and media elite here.

Andrew Reed
Andrew Reed
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

One might also say, its oligarchy and not democracy. We need to recognise that we live in societies where power is spread across numerous large groups – ‘barons’ if you will. Democratic elections are a sham to stop the masses seeing that. The way out of our troubles is to make the masses see it. Lets bring the pantomime to an end.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

And unmoored from any semblance of truth. I know politics is ugly, but it is now pure evil. After reading this article, I’m convinced the left is evil. https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://tabletmag.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=10ba00461a63ee91d9ba58b70&id=157ed74961&e=d72af688f5__;!!BeRq2ZU5pg!qaAz6Tup3nFFQCn0Mp2oJSgwzqOB-oXsLZB6FzXGWhVnimJlzCjwUdY1_n31Dl5nUsv4hSAVEbqBd_8D1EHRmjPr$

Andrew Reed
Andrew Reed
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

One might also say, its oligarchy and not democracy. We need to recognise that we live in societies where power is spread across numerous large groups – ‘barons’ if you will. Democratic elections are a sham to stop the masses seeing that. The way out of our troubles is to make the masses see it. Lets bring the pantomime to an end.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

And unmoored from any semblance of truth. I know politics is ugly, but it is now pure evil. After reading this article, I’m convinced the left is evil. https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://tabletmag.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=10ba00461a63ee91d9ba58b70&id=157ed74961&e=d72af688f5__;!!BeRq2ZU5pg!qaAz6Tup3nFFQCn0Mp2oJSgwzqOB-oXsLZB6FzXGWhVnimJlzCjwUdY1_n31Dl5nUsv4hSAVEbqBd_8D1EHRmjPr$

Michael Saxon
Michael Saxon
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Direct democracy or the Swiss system of binding citizens initiated referenda is what is needed to break the impasse over all the problems the West faces. The people need to be able to ring the changes through an organic system of real democracy.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Michael Saxon

The Swiss referendums of the 18th June last threw up some rather bizarre results!
59% voted for some Climate change nonsense whilst some 62%. voted for the continuation of C-19 restrictions (this for the third time!)

Only the three old ‘Forest Cantons’ of the original 1291 Swiss alliance seem to have been sensible enough to reject this nonsense!

Marianne Kornbluh
Marianne Kornbluh
11 months ago

….and only 42% went to the polls!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago

Great!
And thank you for that nugget!

Is there no minimum quorum 

.say at least 50% must vote?

Last edited 11 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago

Great!
And thank you for that nugget!

Is there no minimum quorum 

.say at least 50% must vote?

Last edited 11 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Andrea Rudenko
Andrea Rudenko
11 months ago

If I lived in a wood chalet on a picturesque hillside in the Alps, with only the sounds of cow bells to disturb my thoughts and vistas of snow covered peaks to calm my mind, I might not be thinking much about politics at all, and hence might not bother to vote. But I think Americans are desperate enough, for all the reasons cited in the essay, to engage with our politics in a robust way, given some intelligent, energetic options, an uncorrupted voting system, and a vision for a way of restoring the country we used to love. Maybe direct voting is part of that picture. But why limit that to voting for president? Why shouldn’t the people vote directly for all parts of the federal budget? If our congress and federal bureaucracy can’t do the job the people want, why not neuter them and let the people make these decisions directly? We do need to beware, of course, of the tyranny of the majority…

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrea Rudenko

I used to think as you do and HAD great faith in the British Public.

However that all changed with their simply appalling reaction to the great COVID panic.

On reflection the ‘runes’ were clear enough to read back in 1997 during the national emotional meltdown occasioned by the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, but I stupidly ignored the warnings signs.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago

Charles the decline started in WW2.There were vast swathes who evaded combat: civil servants, BBC, employees) orwell is very clear on this matter ), trade union officials, those in reserved occupations, etc . Those who volunteered for combat such as aircrew( 50 % death rate, higher for pathfinders ), Merchant Navy, Commandos, submariners,were few in numbers: many were killed and emigrated or worked overseas for companies such as Shell, BP, Anglo American, etc. From the 1950s as the shop stewards of the un and semi skilled unions ( TGWU ) took control: those craftsmen, technicians, engineers and scientists with get up and go did that and went overseas.
Britain may have won the war but Kenneth Widmerpool
Kenneth Widmerpool – Wikipedia
and Jack Jones of the TGWU won the peace. Engineers such as Sir Barnes Wallis and Sir Stanley Hooker were sidelined.
The people who enable a civilisation to rise are like the yeast, one does not need much of a reduction in their numbers and the bread does not rise.
The grief over Diana, Princess of Wales was just a manifestation in the decline of the spirit of the British People.

George Venning
George Venning
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Surely it was in 1926, when a lilly-livered Baldwin refused to let Churchill turn his Maxim guns on the leaders of the general strike

George Venning
George Venning
11 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

No, wait, perhaps it was when an elitist and out of touch Government failed to recognise the Luddite revolt’s expression of direct and popular sovereignty, thus sealing the fate of the industrial revolution as an instrument of metropolitan domination.

George Venning
George Venning
11 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

Hang on, no. The dissolution of the monasteries… something, something… collapse of moral character

George Venning
George Venning
11 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

Hang on, no. The dissolution of the monasteries… something, something… collapse of moral character

jane baker
jane baker
11 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

Ha ha. I said quite truthfully that if they machine gunned a couple of the leaky boats that would put a stop to it. I was NOT advocating this course of action. I was stating an indubitable fact. But one of my Facebook friends took deep offence and posted that she hated me. So why was she on my group then? To spy I think. Well good riddance. She’s east European and all she ever does or all she ever posts is her and her mates out clubbing and drinking anyway.

George Venning
George Venning
11 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

No, wait, perhaps it was when an elitist and out of touch Government failed to recognise the Luddite revolt’s expression of direct and popular sovereignty, thus sealing the fate of the industrial revolution as an instrument of metropolitan domination.

jane baker
jane baker
11 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

Ha ha. I said quite truthfully that if they machine gunned a couple of the leaky boats that would put a stop to it. I was NOT advocating this course of action. I was stating an indubitable fact. But one of my Facebook friends took deep offence and posted that she hated me. So why was she on my group then? To spy I think. Well good riddance. She’s east European and all she ever does or all she ever posts is her and her mates out clubbing and drinking anyway.

jane baker
jane baker
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

I watch a you tube channel in which Pavlo from Ukraine shows us how he and his pals and his cousin live. All of them are fit young men of fighting age and none of them are in uniform or caught in the draft and show no sign of being so or interested in death or glory for the Motherland. So they’re not all thick.
I’ve long thought Pavlo must be paying someone somewhere or know somebody. Good for him,the sly b*****d. Now I read this morning that old Zee the corruption King has realised that most of the Ukraine men with any brains are not in his karnos army and the world knows it,thanks to the likes of Pavlo. He has declared that he is instituting changes in the call up system. He’s going to put wounded veterans particularly those who have lost limbs in charge of panels to see all the men who have so far avoided army service. I trust Pavlo to have the wits to get round that one. But you can see how vicious and nasty this plan is as it relies on the bitter sadness and pain of people. Nasty man.

George Venning
George Venning
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Surely it was in 1926, when a lilly-livered Baldwin refused to let Churchill turn his Maxim guns on the leaders of the general strike

jane baker
jane baker
11 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

I watch a you tube channel in which Pavlo from Ukraine shows us how he and his pals and his cousin live. All of them are fit young men of fighting age and none of them are in uniform or caught in the draft and show no sign of being so or interested in death or glory for the Motherland. So they’re not all thick.
I’ve long thought Pavlo must be paying someone somewhere or know somebody. Good for him,the sly b*****d. Now I read this morning that old Zee the corruption King has realised that most of the Ukraine men with any brains are not in his karnos army and the world knows it,thanks to the likes of Pavlo. He has declared that he is instituting changes in the call up system. He’s going to put wounded veterans particularly those who have lost limbs in charge of panels to see all the men who have so far avoided army service. I trust Pavlo to have the wits to get round that one. But you can see how vicious and nasty this plan is as it relies on the bitter sadness and pain of people. Nasty man.

jane baker
jane baker
11 months ago

Took me by surprise too.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago

Charles the decline started in WW2.There were vast swathes who evaded combat: civil servants, BBC, employees) orwell is very clear on this matter ), trade union officials, those in reserved occupations, etc . Those who volunteered for combat such as aircrew( 50 % death rate, higher for pathfinders ), Merchant Navy, Commandos, submariners,were few in numbers: many were killed and emigrated or worked overseas for companies such as Shell, BP, Anglo American, etc. From the 1950s as the shop stewards of the un and semi skilled unions ( TGWU ) took control: those craftsmen, technicians, engineers and scientists with get up and go did that and went overseas.
Britain may have won the war but Kenneth Widmerpool
Kenneth Widmerpool – Wikipedia
and Jack Jones of the TGWU won the peace. Engineers such as Sir Barnes Wallis and Sir Stanley Hooker were sidelined.
The people who enable a civilisation to rise are like the yeast, one does not need much of a reduction in their numbers and the bread does not rise.
The grief over Diana, Princess of Wales was just a manifestation in the decline of the spirit of the British People.

jane baker
jane baker
11 months ago

Took me by surprise too.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrea Rudenko

I used to think as you do and HAD great faith in the British Public.

However that all changed with their simply appalling reaction to the great COVID panic.

On reflection the ‘runes’ were clear enough to read back in 1997 during the national emotional meltdown occasioned by the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, but I stupidly ignored the warnings signs.

Andrew S
Andrew S
11 months ago

At least with referenda the public are forced to consider the issues and then take responsibility for the outcomes. Along with mandatory recall of elected and senior appointed officials, it does not take many cases for the occupants of the system to realise they need to change.

If the voters realise they have some power they will engage more meaningfully and perhaps that would mean we get better candidates.

While the particular examples of senility the author mentioned are surely indisutable, it should not be thought that “yoof” is a good thing in politics or any other activity, in and of itself. Once in a generation there may be an early learner who can contribute to serious issues of loing term consequences but generally some experience of life and personal responsibility in almost any role is a good preparation for elected office.

jim peden
jim peden
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew S

If the voters realise they have some power they will engage more meaningfully and perhaps that would mean we get better candidates.

I agree that the electorate need to have the incentive to engage more with decision taking that affects their futures and this would be an outcome of more referenda.
The project I’m working on at the moment takes this position. Tentatively named panocracy, it’s earliest incarnations are at panocracy.net

jim peden
jim peden
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew S

If the voters realise they have some power they will engage more meaningfully and perhaps that would mean we get better candidates.

I agree that the electorate need to have the incentive to engage more with decision taking that affects their futures and this would be an outcome of more referenda.
The project I’m working on at the moment takes this position. Tentatively named panocracy, it’s earliest incarnations are at panocracy.net

Bruce W. Perry
Bruce W. Perry
11 months ago

Switzerland was the only modern country to put covid restrictions to a popular vote. It’s a better federal system than in the US; the Swiss have a council of 7 who “take turns” being president. They also were a lot more sensible and measured about the ‘vax’ and the pandemic in general; for example, with children age 0-9, about 96.3% weren’t given a single jab of mRNA. No wonder they have one of the highest healthy-longevity rates in the world!

Marianne Kornbluh
Marianne Kornbluh
11 months ago

….and only 42% went to the polls!

Andrea Rudenko
Andrea Rudenko
11 months ago

If I lived in a wood chalet on a picturesque hillside in the Alps, with only the sounds of cow bells to disturb my thoughts and vistas of snow covered peaks to calm my mind, I might not be thinking much about politics at all, and hence might not bother to vote. But I think Americans are desperate enough, for all the reasons cited in the essay, to engage with our politics in a robust way, given some intelligent, energetic options, an uncorrupted voting system, and a vision for a way of restoring the country we used to love. Maybe direct voting is part of that picture. But why limit that to voting for president? Why shouldn’t the people vote directly for all parts of the federal budget? If our congress and federal bureaucracy can’t do the job the people want, why not neuter them and let the people make these decisions directly? We do need to beware, of course, of the tyranny of the majority…

Andrew S
Andrew S
11 months ago

At least with referenda the public are forced to consider the issues and then take responsibility for the outcomes. Along with mandatory recall of elected and senior appointed officials, it does not take many cases for the occupants of the system to realise they need to change.

If the voters realise they have some power they will engage more meaningfully and perhaps that would mean we get better candidates.

While the particular examples of senility the author mentioned are surely indisutable, it should not be thought that “yoof” is a good thing in politics or any other activity, in and of itself. Once in a generation there may be an early learner who can contribute to serious issues of loing term consequences but generally some experience of life and personal responsibility in almost any role is a good preparation for elected office.

Bruce W. Perry
Bruce W. Perry
11 months ago

Switzerland was the only modern country to put covid restrictions to a popular vote. It’s a better federal system than in the US; the Swiss have a council of 7 who “take turns” being president. They also were a lot more sensible and measured about the ‘vax’ and the pandemic in general; for example, with children age 0-9, about 96.3% weren’t given a single jab of mRNA. No wonder they have one of the highest healthy-longevity rates in the world!

Simon Humphries
Simon Humphries
11 months ago
Reply to  Michael Saxon

It’s a nice idea, but Swiss referendums are at least taken seriously by much of their electorate. It would take a long period of errors before that could hold in the UK. One possible solution would be a high level of devolution and withdrawal of government from large areas of our lives. Neither is likely and I very much fear that the writer is correct.

A R
A R
11 months ago
Reply to  Michael Saxon

Real power is not about a series of big decisions that can be formulated into referendum questions. It’s about who makes the 1000s of smaller decisions every day in government that are never asked. Did you vote for an change in detailed tax law? No – but it happens anyway, putting up your tax bill whether you like it or not because it’s some officials day job to decide that is a good thing.
On top of that reality we also need to recognise that even governments (civil servants) are merely part of an oligarchy and hold only a small slice of power – who votes to decide what gets shown in the media? Who votes what gets promoted in the twitter feed? Who votes for the decisions corporates make? Who votes what is taught at universities? Nobody votes on these things and yet they and many other things like them have enormous influence on how we have got where we are.
Neigh good sir, referendums are merely a sleight of hand to keep people asleep as to where the real power lies. Only by breaking the illusion of democratic power we will begin to see a way forward.

Chipoko
Chipoko
11 months ago
Reply to  A R

The only time in modern history when the British electorate was given real voting power was in the 2016 Brexit referendum! On that occasion one’s individual vote really mattered, in stark contrast to the predictable outcome of general and local elections when those voted into power immediately ignore their electoral promises and commitments – or introduce policies that never inked the pages of election manifestos.
So referendums are valid mechanisms to address and decide single issues of national importance, but not for electing governments and wider policy development.

Chipoko
Chipoko
11 months ago
Reply to  A R

The only time in modern history when the British electorate was given real voting power was in the 2016 Brexit referendum! On that occasion one’s individual vote really mattered, in stark contrast to the predictable outcome of general and local elections when those voted into power immediately ignore their electoral promises and commitments – or introduce policies that never inked the pages of election manifestos.
So referendums are valid mechanisms to address and decide single issues of national importance, but not for electing governments and wider policy development.

Alan Gore
Alan Gore
11 months ago
Reply to  Michael Saxon

We can already do this, on the state level. Direct legislation, in combination with the ability of states to experiment legally in ways taht would be impossible on the national level, could blast us out of this funk.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
11 months ago
Reply to  Michael Saxon

And who will have the airtime, the resources, the experts (NGOs etc) to explain to the masses as to why we have to support whatever is being voted on?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Michael Saxon

The Swiss referendums of the 18th June last threw up some rather bizarre results!
59% voted for some Climate change nonsense whilst some 62%. voted for the continuation of C-19 restrictions (this for the third time!)

Only the three old ‘Forest Cantons’ of the original 1291 Swiss alliance seem to have been sensible enough to reject this nonsense!

Simon Humphries
Simon Humphries
11 months ago
Reply to  Michael Saxon

It’s a nice idea, but Swiss referendums are at least taken seriously by much of their electorate. It would take a long period of errors before that could hold in the UK. One possible solution would be a high level of devolution and withdrawal of government from large areas of our lives. Neither is likely and I very much fear that the writer is correct.

A R
A R
11 months ago
Reply to  Michael Saxon

Real power is not about a series of big decisions that can be formulated into referendum questions. It’s about who makes the 1000s of smaller decisions every day in government that are never asked. Did you vote for an change in detailed tax law? No – but it happens anyway, putting up your tax bill whether you like it or not because it’s some officials day job to decide that is a good thing.
On top of that reality we also need to recognise that even governments (civil servants) are merely part of an oligarchy and hold only a small slice of power – who votes to decide what gets shown in the media? Who votes what gets promoted in the twitter feed? Who votes for the decisions corporates make? Who votes what is taught at universities? Nobody votes on these things and yet they and many other things like them have enormous influence on how we have got where we are.
Neigh good sir, referendums are merely a sleight of hand to keep people asleep as to where the real power lies. Only by breaking the illusion of democratic power we will begin to see a way forward.

Alan Gore
Alan Gore
11 months ago
Reply to  Michael Saxon

We can already do this, on the state level. Direct legislation, in combination with the ability of states to experiment legally in ways taht would be impossible on the national level, could blast us out of this funk.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
11 months ago
Reply to  Michael Saxon

And who will have the airtime, the resources, the experts (NGOs etc) to explain to the masses as to why we have to support whatever is being voted on?

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

” When the working or middle class complain about losing their livelihoods to globalization while the wealthiest get richer, does economic policy change?”

Well there is your whopper. The middle class have never been so upper class, yet the the complaints are legion. And the why of course is what you end with, its a control mechanism. I suggest you cut your wires.

Last edited 11 months ago by Bret Larson
michael harris
michael harris
11 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

Not sure, Bret, whether by a ‘whopper’ you mean something large (as in the Big King sense) or a barefaced lie (as I knew it in childhood). Makes a big difference to reading your post.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
11 months ago
Reply to  michael harris

As with most things, I’m in the in between, its a little of both. I think globalization was a good thing for the time. On the one side, it allowed human labour, owned by free citizens, to benefit from their labour no matter where they lived. On the other side, it allowed totalitarian regimens to farm slave labour and become fabulously wealthy.
How do you keep the one without the other?
Labour in free countries saw a huge benefit, while paying with the jobs they decided they didnt want to do.
The next twenty years we will need to repatriate alot of those jobs or we will cease to exist as a society but still it was a fair go.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
11 months ago
Reply to  michael harris

As with most things, I’m in the in between, its a little of both. I think globalization was a good thing for the time. On the one side, it allowed human labour, owned by free citizens, to benefit from their labour no matter where they lived. On the other side, it allowed totalitarian regimens to farm slave labour and become fabulously wealthy.
How do you keep the one without the other?
Labour in free countries saw a huge benefit, while paying with the jobs they decided they didnt want to do.
The next twenty years we will need to repatriate alot of those jobs or we will cease to exist as a society but still it was a fair go.

David Yetter
David Yetter
11 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

Perhaps “middle class” was being used in the sense it is on my side of the Pond, where it includes most of what in Britain are called “working class”, being defined in solely in terms of income level. If so, the anti-globalism complaints have a good deal of merit. (Though I agree, observing from afar, what is called the “middle class” in Britain are indeed more upper class than at any previous time).
On the other hand, I think the change from capitalism to what Burnham called managerialism (under which we definitely live now, though I regard him as having thought the shift arrived earlier than it did) should probably oblige us all to rethink not the notion of social or economic class per se, but where the boundaries between classes are, and maybe what the sensible names for the classes are. Perhaps we could even get uniform usage throughout the Anglosphere if someone did a good enough job of both describing sensible class boundaries and giving the classes pithy names.

michael harris
michael harris
11 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

Not sure, Bret, whether by a ‘whopper’ you mean something large (as in the Big King sense) or a barefaced lie (as I knew it in childhood). Makes a big difference to reading your post.

David Yetter
David Yetter
11 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

Perhaps “middle class” was being used in the sense it is on my side of the Pond, where it includes most of what in Britain are called “working class”, being defined in solely in terms of income level. If so, the anti-globalism complaints have a good deal of merit. (Though I agree, observing from afar, what is called the “middle class” in Britain are indeed more upper class than at any previous time).
On the other hand, I think the change from capitalism to what Burnham called managerialism (under which we definitely live now, though I regard him as having thought the shift arrived earlier than it did) should probably oblige us all to rethink not the notion of social or economic class per se, but where the boundaries between classes are, and maybe what the sensible names for the classes are. Perhaps we could even get uniform usage throughout the Anglosphere if someone did a good enough job of both describing sensible class boundaries and giving the classes pithy names.

T Bone
T Bone
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Study the Cobra Effect of perverse incentives. They actually do learn but since the West has largely abandoned cautious Empiricism in favor of Dialectical Reasoning, each “solution” to a problem actually operates as a problem multiplier.

Take legislation. When you get a 1000 page document full of vague solutions that seeks to plug past failures, what are the odds that you’ve created 20 more problems?

Katrina Collins
Katrina Collins
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Agree. Its not just America. Europe and UK are actually worse. At least Trump Biden is a choice, a horrible choice but at least a semblance of difference.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

Vive la difference! I think not. It’s a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

Vive la difference! I think not. It’s a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Indeed. As bad as it looks, civilization is fundamentally a game of resources and assets, and America still has a lot of both. Americans may be having fewer children but are not yet as bad off in terms of demographics as most of Europe or some places in Asia. Moreover there are plenty of potential Americans who are more or less compatible with our civilization available whenever we can finally agree on an immigration reform that combines strong border control and more screening of immigrants, favoring the young and productive and screening out moochers, human traffickers, drug dealers, and other riffraff. Most of America’s problems could be solved simply by removing the current ruling class who will not let go of their globalist utopian fantasies even when faced by the mounting consequences of the manifest failures of that philosophy. The solution to a bad ruling class is simple and straightforward. Revolution, in whatever form it takes, that removes the globalists and their policies through whatever means are necessary and replaces the failed ruling class with a new one.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Just like that! Don’t be silly.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Just like that! Don’t be silly.

Ben Notsay
Ben Notsay
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Well said, and I for one, regret all those years that I used to financially support the Guardian – even all these years later! At least NOW it feels like it’s going to a good place!

Yes, they can all (mostly) add something valuable to the discourse from time to time (Snowden & Greenwald), I guess. But, thank f**k for Joe Rogan, JP, Maajid, Freddy and the Unherd, as well as Chris and the substack posse.

If only RFK could get a shot at these bastards


Last edited 11 months ago by Ben Notsay
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

…so a huge cowardice on the part of the proletariat then? Perhaps, or helplessness or hopelessness.. yes, a kind of nihilism. In my youth we had guts and get up and do something about it. Today’s snowflakes just look for their mums to make it alright! The current young generation have been screwed over by my generation and they know it but can’t get off their fat arses to take back what’s theirs by right! I can’t help feeling they deserve all the s**t they get!

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Decline in spirit which manifests in lack of innovation and courage. The desire to attempt the impossible is a sign of spirit : to go beyond what has already been achieved . A modern example of spirit is Nimsdai Purja, Gurkha, SBS operative who climbed fourteen mountains over 8000m in under 7 months.
Sir Barnes Wallis and Sir Stanley Hooker are examples of innovation. Hooker designed the two stage supercharger for the Merlin Engine , increased speed by 70mph and 10,000 ft of altitude.
Michelangelo was called the Divine One because what he achived appeared Divine whether creating The Pieta or St Peters.
Modern day life is is good at the mass production of mediocrity. Genius recognises talent, mediocrity sees itself. People do not want genius because they do not want to be shown up as mediocrities.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Decline in spirit which manifests in lack of innovation and courage. The desire to attempt the impossible is a sign of spirit : to go beyond what has already been achieved . A modern example of spirit is Nimsdai Purja, Gurkha, SBS operative who climbed fourteen mountains over 8000m in under 7 months.
Sir Barnes Wallis and Sir Stanley Hooker are examples of innovation. Hooker designed the two stage supercharger for the Merlin Engine , increased speed by 70mph and 10,000 ft of altitude.
Michelangelo was called the Divine One because what he achived appeared Divine whether creating The Pieta or St Peters.
Modern day life is is good at the mass production of mediocrity. Genius recognises talent, mediocrity sees itself. People do not want genius because they do not want to be shown up as mediocrities.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

There’s a feeling of staleness in America, same old same old, business as usual.The rich get richer the poor get poorer. It’s actually quite depressing living here. There’s a desperate need for an infusion of new ideas, vision and vitality, but we all know it’s never going to happen because most politicians are self-serving, it’s the name of the game.

Last edited 11 months ago by Clare Knight
Mike In Brazil
Mike In Brazil
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

I mean, the Nazi Party and the fascists in Italy tried to fight against the moral decay, but then were bombed out of existence. Yet Americans still believe that the Allies were the “good guys” in World War II. Newsflash: it’s the opposite.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike In Brazil

You raise a good point. Everything decays, morals included or maybe especially. We must fight that. Why does that fight turn us into losers?

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike In Brazil

You raise a good point. Everything decays, morals included or maybe especially. We must fight that. Why does that fight turn us into losers?

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

It’s called ‘a failure in leadership’. Ironically, feminism calls young women to be leaders; ditto universities recruit by telling young women, ‘come to our school and become a leader’ while at the same time putting men down by telling them they’re toxic. Very few of these millions of women have risen to lead us forward. And the men are just told to move out of the way. We’ve got it all wrong. It’s a cultural problem even more than economics.

Last edited 11 months ago by Cathy Carron
Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Very good. Is not our problem the fact that we now inhabit a political universe in which politicians are unmoored from us and democratic consent (see 2nd Referendum; lockdown tyranny, small boats) and they in turn are unmoored from genuine rational thinking and in the grip of derwnged groupthink? Why do they not know what a woman is? Who voted for the myriad bans and a4bitrary untested controls of the Net Zero Regime? When was it aired and debated with the public? This is religion – not politics. It has more in common ideolgically with the irrational utopianism of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. Who voted for the convulsive revolution of non stop 1m p.a incoming population growth? With globalism tech and AI all spinning heads with revolutionary change from above, people expected the State and our political class to respond with cool pragmatic reason. But it is impossible to avoid the feeling that they have deserted the trenches. Irrational credos and some form of nihilistic hysteria is gripping the political legal and media elite here.

Michael Saxon
Michael Saxon
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Direct democracy or the Swiss system of binding citizens initiated referenda is what is needed to break the impasse over all the problems the West faces. The people need to be able to ring the changes through an organic system of real democracy.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

” When the working or middle class complain about losing their livelihoods to globalization while the wealthiest get richer, does economic policy change?”

Well there is your whopper. The middle class have never been so upper class, yet the the complaints are legion. And the why of course is what you end with, its a control mechanism. I suggest you cut your wires.

Last edited 11 months ago by Bret Larson
T Bone
T Bone
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Study the Cobra Effect of perverse incentives. They actually do learn but since the West has largely abandoned cautious Empiricism in favor of Dialectical Reasoning, each “solution” to a problem actually operates as a problem multiplier.

Take legislation. When you get a 1000 page document full of vague solutions that seeks to plug past failures, what are the odds that you’ve created 20 more problems?

Katrina Collins
Katrina Collins
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Agree. Its not just America. Europe and UK are actually worse. At least Trump Biden is a choice, a horrible choice but at least a semblance of difference.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Indeed. As bad as it looks, civilization is fundamentally a game of resources and assets, and America still has a lot of both. Americans may be having fewer children but are not yet as bad off in terms of demographics as most of Europe or some places in Asia. Moreover there are plenty of potential Americans who are more or less compatible with our civilization available whenever we can finally agree on an immigration reform that combines strong border control and more screening of immigrants, favoring the young and productive and screening out moochers, human traffickers, drug dealers, and other riffraff. Most of America’s problems could be solved simply by removing the current ruling class who will not let go of their globalist utopian fantasies even when faced by the mounting consequences of the manifest failures of that philosophy. The solution to a bad ruling class is simple and straightforward. Revolution, in whatever form it takes, that removes the globalists and their policies through whatever means are necessary and replaces the failed ruling class with a new one.

Ben Notsay
Ben Notsay
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Well said, and I for one, regret all those years that I used to financially support the Guardian – even all these years later! At least NOW it feels like it’s going to a good place!

Yes, they can all (mostly) add something valuable to the discourse from time to time (Snowden & Greenwald), I guess. But, thank f**k for Joe Rogan, JP, Maajid, Freddy and the Unherd, as well as Chris and the substack posse.

If only RFK could get a shot at these bastards


Last edited 11 months ago by Ben Notsay
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

…so a huge cowardice on the part of the proletariat then? Perhaps, or helplessness or hopelessness.. yes, a kind of nihilism. In my youth we had guts and get up and do something about it. Today’s snowflakes just look for their mums to make it alright! The current young generation have been screwed over by my generation and they know it but can’t get off their fat arses to take back what’s theirs by right! I can’t help feeling they deserve all the s**t they get!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

There’s a feeling of staleness in America, same old same old, business as usual.The rich get richer the poor get poorer. It’s actually quite depressing living here. There’s a desperate need for an infusion of new ideas, vision and vitality, but we all know it’s never going to happen because most politicians are self-serving, it’s the name of the game.

Last edited 11 months ago by Clare Knight
Mike In Brazil
Mike In Brazil
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

I mean, the Nazi Party and the fascists in Italy tried to fight against the moral decay, but then were bombed out of existence. Yet Americans still believe that the Allies were the “good guys” in World War II. Newsflash: it’s the opposite.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

It’s called ‘a failure in leadership’. Ironically, feminism calls young women to be leaders; ditto universities recruit by telling young women, ‘come to our school and become a leader’ while at the same time putting men down by telling them they’re toxic. Very few of these millions of women have risen to lead us forward. And the men are just told to move out of the way. We’ve got it all wrong. It’s a cultural problem even more than economics.

Last edited 11 months ago by Cathy Carron
Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
11 months ago

I think that feeling of wanting to destroy goes deeper than that. Institutions and systems not just in America, but throughout the Western world are fundamentally broken. You name it, dishonest media organizations, fracturing political parties, government bureaucracies considering themselves above the law, massive monopolized corporations etc. they all deserve the hate they get. The reason that so many rational people are at the point where they would not mind watching it burn is simply every single one of these systems or institutions have flat out refused to make the most basic of reforms. When large media conglomerates get caught telling lies on national television, do they change their behavior or blame all the people who noticed? When the working or middle class complain about losing their livelihoods to globalization while the wealthiest get richer, does economic policy change? Do Western governments ever keep their promises to learn from foreign policy failures or stop illegal surveillance programs? Given that most of you have come to places like UnHerd for a reason, I bet you can already guess the answers to those questions. I don’t think it is nihilism. I think it is the realization that those who run things see these broken systems as running just like they are supposed to.

J Bryant
J Bryant
11 months ago

The author certainly provided a scathing appraisal of current American society, and much that he says is true. But I’m not quite as pessimistic as he appears to be (although I certainly do an excellent Chicken Little impersonation when I want to).
My sense is we’re at a moment of profound change. Radical individualism, coupled with a radical form of neoliberal economics, has brought America to a dead end. A new direction is needed and it’s my hope we will find that new way forward soon. The author is certainly correct that the US congress is now a gerontocracy; it is the barely-living, barely-breathing metaphor for the exhausted ideas of the past. Our hope now is we find a new way forward. I will admit, at this moment I don’t see that path or who will lead us.

Rick Frazier
Rick Frazier
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Term limits for members of Congress would go a long way toward reversing much of what the author describes in this essay. It will never happen of course. Politicians will not vote for anything that reduces their ability to hold onto power.

Harry Mason
Harry Mason
11 months ago
Reply to  Rick Frazier

Congress are just servants of the bankers and industrialists who have ran the United States since at least WW1. Having younger puppets won’t change anything.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Harry Mason

Are these “bankers and industrialists” the usual suspects by any chance?

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
11 months ago

Quite a large proportion of them (i.e. c.60% – though more than that in banking) do seem to fit the stereotype.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
11 months ago

Quite a large proportion of them (i.e. c.60% – though more than that in banking) do seem to fit the stereotype.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Harry Mason

Are these “bankers and industrialists” the usual suspects by any chance?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Rick Frazier

Exactly. Nothing is going to change, it’s a stalemate.

Harry Mason
Harry Mason
11 months ago
Reply to  Rick Frazier

Congress are just servants of the bankers and industrialists who have ran the United States since at least WW1. Having younger puppets won’t change anything.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Rick Frazier

Exactly. Nothing is going to change, it’s a stalemate.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Patrick Deneen just wrote a book called Regime Change as an attempt to chart this new direction. I really liked Deneen’s first book (Why Liberalism failed) so I expected some optimistic things from this one. Unfortunately, his prescription appear to be very pie-in-the-sky to me. However, since you’re interested in potential solutions, I would recommend it.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
11 months ago

Currently reading Why Liberalism Failed. Disappointed to hear that his next book is not as good. What kind of solutions does he propose?

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
11 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

His big thing is creating a “mixed constitution” in which the interests of both the masses and the elites are represented. He (rightly) rejects the straight populist “we don’t need no elites” idea, since every society needs some kind of hierarchy. And done well, elites serve like the old aristocracy was supposed to (and often actually did), as carriers or high culture and moral exemplars, essentially vehicles for the ennoblement of society.
This is a great vision, and fairly historically accurate. However, his roadmap to get there includes a lot of “we ought to have elites that…” and very little of how to actually get there. When he does make specific recommendations, they’re pie-in-the-sky wishes. For example: giving more votes to poorer and rural people since they have less influence in other centers of power. There’s a lot of things like that which may make sense, but are so far away from being politically tenable that it’s laughable.
All that said, the first 2/3rds of the book is great, and I highly recommend people read it. The last third is just depressing though since he provides no path to achieve the “regime change” he posits in his title.

Last edited 11 months ago by Brian Villanueva
David Yetter
David Yetter
11 months ago

In the United States, we had a mixed constitution, but it was subverted in the interest of “progress”, with first, the direct election of Senators, which had the effect of concentrating power in the Federal government, since there was no longer anyone representing the interests of the state governments in Washington; second, the institution of the income tax, which allowed the Federal government to grow; and finally, a series of bad Supreme Court decisions, including Wicker v. Filburn, that turned the Commerce Clause into a carte blanche for the Federal regulation of everything, and Reynold v. Sims that destroyed the constitutions of all the states that had an upper house elected by county (very much in line with the ‘more votes for the rural’ proposal).

joe hardy
joe hardy
11 months ago

Today our elites enjoy nothing more than a trip to Epstein Island.

David Yetter
David Yetter
11 months ago

In the United States, we had a mixed constitution, but it was subverted in the interest of “progress”, with first, the direct election of Senators, which had the effect of concentrating power in the Federal government, since there was no longer anyone representing the interests of the state governments in Washington; second, the institution of the income tax, which allowed the Federal government to grow; and finally, a series of bad Supreme Court decisions, including Wicker v. Filburn, that turned the Commerce Clause into a carte blanche for the Federal regulation of everything, and Reynold v. Sims that destroyed the constitutions of all the states that had an upper house elected by county (very much in line with the ‘more votes for the rural’ proposal).

joe hardy
joe hardy
11 months ago

Today our elites enjoy nothing more than a trip to Epstein Island.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
11 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

His big thing is creating a “mixed constitution” in which the interests of both the masses and the elites are represented. He (rightly) rejects the straight populist “we don’t need no elites” idea, since every society needs some kind of hierarchy. And done well, elites serve like the old aristocracy was supposed to (and often actually did), as carriers or high culture and moral exemplars, essentially vehicles for the ennoblement of society.
This is a great vision, and fairly historically accurate. However, his roadmap to get there includes a lot of “we ought to have elites that…” and very little of how to actually get there. When he does make specific recommendations, they’re pie-in-the-sky wishes. For example: giving more votes to poorer and rural people since they have less influence in other centers of power. There’s a lot of things like that which may make sense, but are so far away from being politically tenable that it’s laughable.
All that said, the first 2/3rds of the book is great, and I highly recommend people read it. The last third is just depressing though since he provides no path to achieve the “regime change” he posits in his title.

Last edited 11 months ago by Brian Villanueva
J Bryant
J Bryant
11 months ago

Thanks for the recommendation. I don’t think anyone really sees a new way. Even social commenters I greatly respect, notably Victor Davis Hansen, are long on diagnosis and short on cure.

Thor Albro
Thor Albro
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Spot on. I recently got quite tired of listening to VD Hansen’s doom and gloom. There is much to be optimistic about (DEI has stalled, push-back on trans athletes, rethinking net-zero, etc,). We need ideas and positivity from pundits, not mere recitation of obvious problems – such as this rather banale example in Unherd,

Thor Albro
Thor Albro
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Spot on. I recently got quite tired of listening to VD Hansen’s doom and gloom. There is much to be optimistic about (DEI has stalled, push-back on trans athletes, rethinking net-zero, etc,). We need ideas and positivity from pundits, not mere recitation of obvious problems – such as this rather banale example in Unherd,

R Wright
R Wright
11 months ago

I had no idea Deneen had written another book. A cursory search shows angry reviews by Vox, WaPo, the New York Times and the FT, which means I am essentially obligated to buy it, notwithstanding that his first book was excellent.

Greg Simay
Greg Simay
11 months ago

What if, by the time America’s children were 16 or so, they had the skills to pay the bills and, by the time they were 21, they had the emotional maturity to marry and raise children. Not so long ago in our nation’s history, this was not an uncommon state of affairs.To achieve this sort of thing today, what would be required? Homeschooling, especially as it’s rapidly evolving in the face of increasing numbers of parents choosing this option? Early apprenticeships? A generation that has an independent life early on, versus languishing in the proverbial parents’ basement, is much more likely to create a politics that defends liberty rather than undermines it. Also what if technology was geared to supporting liberty? Complicated technologies favor Byzantine bureaucracies. I suspect we could have a high standard of living a lot without so much complexity, and simpler tech puts more power n the hands of the people.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
11 months ago

Currently reading Why Liberalism Failed. Disappointed to hear that his next book is not as good. What kind of solutions does he propose?

J Bryant
J Bryant
11 months ago

Thanks for the recommendation. I don’t think anyone really sees a new way. Even social commenters I greatly respect, notably Victor Davis Hansen, are long on diagnosis and short on cure.

R Wright
R Wright
11 months ago

I had no idea Deneen had written another book. A cursory search shows angry reviews by Vox, WaPo, the New York Times and the FT, which means I am essentially obligated to buy it, notwithstanding that his first book was excellent.

Greg Simay
Greg Simay
11 months ago

What if, by the time America’s children were 16 or so, they had the skills to pay the bills and, by the time they were 21, they had the emotional maturity to marry and raise children. Not so long ago in our nation’s history, this was not an uncommon state of affairs.To achieve this sort of thing today, what would be required? Homeschooling, especially as it’s rapidly evolving in the face of increasing numbers of parents choosing this option? Early apprenticeships? A generation that has an independent life early on, versus languishing in the proverbial parents’ basement, is much more likely to create a politics that defends liberty rather than undermines it. Also what if technology was geared to supporting liberty? Complicated technologies favor Byzantine bureaucracies. I suspect we could have a high standard of living a lot without so much complexity, and simpler tech puts more power n the hands of the people.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Your “don’t see the path” captures Prof. Howland’s point perfectly. He is writing about the advent of nihilism. About the revelation that our search for the right path ends with the discovery that there are no paths to take. What options does one have in such a world? His answer appears to be: The choice between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

Or “when you reach the fork in the road take it”.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Precisely.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Precisely.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

Or “when you reach the fork in the road take it”.

Steve White
Steve White
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

From the perspective of leadership, perhaps RFK Jr. might be the one for that. From a moral, spiritual, and cultural perspective. That is a crisis of leadership in churches. Ironically churches stepping outside the scope of duty assigned to them in the Great Commission, and seeking to meddle with culture has had the opposite from a preserving or guiding effect. 

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve White
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve White

RFK junior as a potential leader?! God forbid.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve White

RFK junior as a potential leader?! God forbid.

Bob Henson
Bob Henson
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I think that the author was referring to the Senate.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
11 months ago
Reply to  Bob Henson

The Senate is one branch of the legislature, referred to collectively as Congress. The House of Representatives is the other branch.

alan Mahon
alan Mahon
11 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

I did not know that

alan Mahon
alan Mahon
11 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

I did not know that

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
11 months ago
Reply to  Bob Henson

The Senate is one branch of the legislature, referred to collectively as Congress. The House of Representatives is the other branch.

Kat L
Kat L
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I am inclined to agree however I don’t trust the generations coming after X to govern effectively or wisely.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
11 months ago
Reply to  Kat L

Quite so, especially when 40+ % of them believe people should be imprisoned for saying the “wrong” things.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
11 months ago
Reply to  Kat L

Quite so, especially when 40+ % of them believe people should be imprisoned for saying the “wrong” things.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

“My sense is we’re at a moment of profound change.”

The moving edge of time is always the current moment of profound change.

Alan Gore
Alan Gore
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

In particular, because there are people out there who use the latest technology for purely shallow purposes, doesn’t mean that we all have to. Speak for yourself, Mr. “People’s Republic of Austin.”

Martin Rossol
Martin Rossol
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

MInd you, he has PLENTY of faults; I make no bones about that. But the fact that not only Democrats but especially Establishment Republicans loath TRUMP, suggests that he is on to something. Perhaps the best is: “Its not really about me (TRUMP)- its about you, about us.” Save a the few Republican Congressmen pushing back, if they can do to Trump what they are doing, they can do it to anyone. And as someone who has voted RED for most of my life, I like a lot of Robert Kennedy JR, but not sure he can be ‘mean’ enough if he were to win (which is a long, long shot). One of our best bets is to take on the culture, the ideology, at the local level. Mayor, city council, school boards, sheriff, etc.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Martin Rossol

Trump is doing the Jesus thing “I died for your sins”. Well like I said to Jesus “I didn’t ask you to”.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Martin Rossol

Trump is doing the Jesus thing “I died for your sins”. Well like I said to Jesus “I didn’t ask you to”.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Exactly.

Rick Frazier
Rick Frazier
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Term limits for members of Congress would go a long way toward reversing much of what the author describes in this essay. It will never happen of course. Politicians will not vote for anything that reduces their ability to hold onto power.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Patrick Deneen just wrote a book called Regime Change as an attempt to chart this new direction. I really liked Deneen’s first book (Why Liberalism failed) so I expected some optimistic things from this one. Unfortunately, his prescription appear to be very pie-in-the-sky to me. However, since you’re interested in potential solutions, I would recommend it.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Your “don’t see the path” captures Prof. Howland’s point perfectly. He is writing about the advent of nihilism. About the revelation that our search for the right path ends with the discovery that there are no paths to take. What options does one have in such a world? His answer appears to be: The choice between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

Steve White
Steve White
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

From the perspective of leadership, perhaps RFK Jr. might be the one for that. From a moral, spiritual, and cultural perspective. That is a crisis of leadership in churches. Ironically churches stepping outside the scope of duty assigned to them in the Great Commission, and seeking to meddle with culture has had the opposite from a preserving or guiding effect. 

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve White
Bob Henson
Bob Henson
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I think that the author was referring to the Senate.

Kat L
Kat L
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I am inclined to agree however I don’t trust the generations coming after X to govern effectively or wisely.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

“My sense is we’re at a moment of profound change.”

The moving edge of time is always the current moment of profound change.

Alan Gore
Alan Gore
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

In particular, because there are people out there who use the latest technology for purely shallow purposes, doesn’t mean that we all have to. Speak for yourself, Mr. “People’s Republic of Austin.”

Martin Rossol
Martin Rossol
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

MInd you, he has PLENTY of faults; I make no bones about that. But the fact that not only Democrats but especially Establishment Republicans loath TRUMP, suggests that he is on to something. Perhaps the best is: “Its not really about me (TRUMP)- its about you, about us.” Save a the few Republican Congressmen pushing back, if they can do to Trump what they are doing, they can do it to anyone. And as someone who has voted RED for most of my life, I like a lot of Robert Kennedy JR, but not sure he can be ‘mean’ enough if he were to win (which is a long, long shot). One of our best bets is to take on the culture, the ideology, at the local level. Mayor, city council, school boards, sheriff, etc.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Exactly.

J Bryant
J Bryant
11 months ago

The author certainly provided a scathing appraisal of current American society, and much that he says is true. But I’m not quite as pessimistic as he appears to be (although I certainly do an excellent Chicken Little impersonation when I want to).
My sense is we’re at a moment of profound change. Radical individualism, coupled with a radical form of neoliberal economics, has brought America to a dead end. A new direction is needed and it’s my hope we will find that new way forward soon. The author is certainly correct that the US congress is now a gerontocracy; it is the barely-living, barely-breathing metaphor for the exhausted ideas of the past. Our hope now is we find a new way forward. I will admit, at this moment I don’t see that path or who will lead us.

Emre S
Emre S
11 months ago

It’s not possible to separate what’s happening today to USA from the decline of globalisation. Globalisation, for a brief period, created the set of conditions that allowed a capitalist and a matching mandarin class to flourish, awarding them fabulous amounts of wealth and influence. These were a set of people who were at the right place with the right set of thoughts. For this brief period, millions were lifted from poverty across the globe and liberal ideas saw their apex with the end of history being declared. I trace the set of events that shattered this dream and gave us today’s absurd political situation to the terribly handled invasion of Iraq by Bush where the joke went America fought the war and China won it.

Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
11 months ago
Reply to  Emre S

We’re merely in the “weak men make hard times” portion of the social cycle.

We’ve let too many midwits promote a self important, deluded mode d’vie, we’ve succumbed, inexplicably, to oikophobia, and we’ve let an effeminate, vindictive, self important elite take too much control of our economy and our culture.

However, much of America is growing very tired of the endless incompetence, arrogance, and intrusion into our lives. I strongly suspect our next election will sweep much of the rot from the very top, enabling real reform, and a fairly rapid economic turn around. An American regime change sweeps our many government agencies of their policymakers, ends many of the prior administration’s executive orders, and if accompanied by legislative majorities, can transform much of our political and economic lives.

Similarly, the culture will change with this, and we can see that this is already starting. Almost no one now drinks Bud Light – until recently the Diet Coke of mass produced beer – almost no one watched the insipid and preachy movies and shows Hollywood forces upon us, and the pro- “ordered liberty” country music song “Try That In A Small Town” is rising quickly to the top of the charts.

The weak men – whom I date to about President Clinton, a man of exceedingly weak moral character, through to President Biden, who’s possibly even worse – have had their day, and are on their way out, along with their useless lackeys and minions.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
11 months ago

Absolutely! When I first saw a depiction of that cycle (strong men make good times, good times make weak men, weak men make hard times, hard times make strong men) it helped me make sense of what is happening in our world. The bit it doesn’t mention is how many FAKE “strong men” will try to assert themselves when it becomes obvious everything is collapsing. They are just new narcissists trying to capitalise on the instability. I think the REAL “strong men” are quiet and understated, working behind the scenes in their institutions to maintain some kind of sense and order whilst all around them are losing their heads. I see glimpses of their actions here and there, and it gives me hope we are approaching the next phase of the cycle.

Last edited 11 months ago by Amy Harris
Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

Really?! That slogan always struck me as simplistic nonsense – an Ayn Rand fan’s wet dream.

mike otter
mike otter
11 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

If something is simple it doesn’t mean its not correct – Occam’s razor principle in action. Look at WW2 – through the 30s loonies ascended and after the nasty bar room brawl ended in 1945 the participants sobered up and the rule of law was re-asserted, excepting the USSR, for 50 to 60 years. Now memories have faded and the deranged are once again revving up for a big conflict.

Last edited 11 months ago by mike otter
Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
11 months ago
Reply to  mike otter

Maybe but it doesn’t mean either that complex things like the rise of civilisations can be reduced to neat little sound bites.
Too often I see that particular set of sentences employed by people who can’t be bothered to think.
After all, no one who ever reads that and sees themselves as the weak man do they?
It’s the kind of quote that gives you a little massage while whispering in your ear and as such should be viewed with suspicion and amusement in equal measure.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

Excellent rejoinder.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

Excellent rejoinder.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
11 months ago
Reply to  mike otter

Maybe but it doesn’t mean either that complex things like the rise of civilisations can be reduced to neat little sound bites.
Too often I see that particular set of sentences employed by people who can’t be bothered to think.
After all, no one who ever reads that and sees themselves as the weak man do they?
It’s the kind of quote that gives you a little massage while whispering in your ear and as such should be viewed with suspicion and amusement in equal measure.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

Lt Col Paddy Blair Mayne DSO *** honed on the rugby pitches and boxing ring and Violette Szabo GC, gymnstics, ice skating, long distance cycling and shooting.

mike otter
mike otter
11 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

If something is simple it doesn’t mean its not correct – Occam’s razor principle in action. Look at WW2 – through the 30s loonies ascended and after the nasty bar room brawl ended in 1945 the participants sobered up and the rule of law was re-asserted, excepting the USSR, for 50 to 60 years. Now memories have faded and the deranged are once again revving up for a big conflict.

Last edited 11 months ago by mike otter
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
11 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

Lt Col Paddy Blair Mayne DSO *** honed on the rugby pitches and boxing ring and Violette Szabo GC, gymnstics, ice skating, long distance cycling and shooting.

Filipa Antonia Barata de Araujo
Filipa Antonia Barata de Araujo
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

You know that’s one of the stupidest memes going around or you also believe vaccines cause autism?

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
11 months ago

Very weak trolling. Very weak indeed. Back to troll school with you!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

I thought it was rather good.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

I thought it was rather good.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
11 months ago

Very weak trolling. Very weak indeed. Back to troll school with you!

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

Really?! That slogan always struck me as simplistic nonsense – an Ayn Rand fan’s wet dream.

Filipa Antonia Barata de Araujo
Filipa Antonia Barata de Araujo
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

You know that’s one of the stupidest memes going around or you also believe vaccines cause autism?

Steven Targett
Steven Targett
11 months ago

One can but hope. The narcissistic self destruction inflicted on us by the woke is deeply depressing.

Filipa Antonia Barata de Araujo
Filipa Antonia Barata de Araujo
11 months ago
Reply to  Steven Targett

Your former president tried to get fake votes in order to claim he was the winner.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
11 months ago

It’s not about taking sides. We need to get away from the typically American outlook on dismissing those holding different opinions as liars or idiots. They serve no purpose except to cause bad feelings.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

I think you’re really onto something here, Julian. Don’t let the Americans who sometimes flood these boards as you say “export” our deeply angry and uncharitable national zeitgeist across the Atlantic, not even that mostly-well-meaning loud-finger “AJ Mac”.
That goes for y’all up in Canada too, the land of my birth and dual citizenship: I need a potential escape that hasn’t become just as bad as the States. And for your own sakes too, eh.

Phineas
Phineas
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Canada under Trudeau has become a woke contry. Also huge guilt complex about how how the indigenous people were treated with a turning against the values of the British foundation fathers. I write this as an Irish, British, Canadian.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Phineas

Triple citizenship?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Phineas

Triple citizenship?

Phineas
Phineas
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Canada under Trudeau has become a woke contry. Also huge guilt complex about how how the indigenous people were treated with a turning against the values of the British foundation fathers. I write this as an Irish, British, Canadian.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

It would be nice if it wasn’t about taking sides but, unfortunately, it is. The right is so extreme, off the wall and entrenched that there is no being reasonable or trying to communicate.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Not off the wall; on the wall. The right clings to walls. The “left” has let go, of the walls of the world, that is.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Not off the wall; on the wall. The right clings to walls. The “left” has let go, of the walls of the world, that is.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

I think you’re really onto something here, Julian. Don’t let the Americans who sometimes flood these boards as you say “export” our deeply angry and uncharitable national zeitgeist across the Atlantic, not even that mostly-well-meaning loud-finger “AJ Mac”.
That goes for y’all up in Canada too, the land of my birth and dual citizenship: I need a potential escape that hasn’t become just as bad as the States. And for your own sakes too, eh.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

It would be nice if it wasn’t about taking sides but, unfortunately, it is. The right is so extreme, off the wall and entrenched that there is no being reasonable or trying to communicate.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

Indeed he did.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
11 months ago

It’s not about taking sides. We need to get away from the typically American outlook on dismissing those holding different opinions as liars or idiots. They serve no purpose except to cause bad feelings.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

Indeed he did.

Filipa Antonia Barata de Araujo
Filipa Antonia Barata de Araujo
11 months ago
Reply to  Steven Targett

Your former president tried to get fake votes in order to claim he was the winner.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago

Well said, and very good to see the word oikophobia used in its proper context.

We have a very similar problem here in the UK, but again the “worm is turning”, albeit a bit too slowly for my liking.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
11 months ago

Yes, there have been a few recent pushbacks to the overt deranged credos (Net Zero Extreme & Extreme Trans) promoted by our entire political legal class and the captured fully propagandist media. But they only occured because a few true facts ‘escaped’ BBC Newspeak. I think this description of nihilsm and the snapping of societal vitality is accurate for the UK too. If we agree that meritocratic free enterprise and bucaneering capitalist adventure is the prime source of prosperity, then there are now no grounds for hope. The rival progressive left are innately hostile to enterprise and have since 97 and with the craven support of Wet Cameron May and their loathsome Lib Dem fellow travellers – re shaped our entire society to promote increasingly Extreme Equalitarian progressive ideals. Wealth creation is now a discriminatory hate crime (cue yelling at idea of tax cuts for Rich). Social engineering has utterly hollowed out our state education/exam system & eaten out a rapacious China loving uni sector. We now do not just have Labours reflex windfall taxes and non dom rage. It goes so much deeper. We are sinking under a culture of Hooman Right Greviance and Entitlement, corrupted welfarism and punishing taxation on SMEs. State finances ruined by insane money tree theory are further groaning under the weight of a vast bloated non productive Army of Quangos Regulators & so called Charities. We inhabit a Neo Keynsian Lalaland. ESG madness has infected our once dynamic financial sector whilst the progressive commitment to mass female employment – without the necessary childcare provision – means for example that the battered NHS cannot ever operate 24/7 as it is deemed ‘anti women’ by newly deranged public sector trade unions. Three decades of this Blairism and the horrors of wokery since the EQA of 2015 has polluted the public space with hysteria and hate and encrusted decline on every captured state institution. A Thatcher like revolution and pushback seems just impossible. The Elite have conquered the loathed Brexiteers and intend to punish the wayward grifters with net zero waterboarding. No one powerful in the political class is fighting these core nihilistic values of the Left in the State in schools in law and in the media. Certainly not the Fellow Travelling Furlo Fake socialist Tories. So the poison just sinks deeper and deeper, just as is happening in America. Nihilism is indeed the word.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

I wish you’d stop being so mealy-mouthed and call a spade a spade ♠ (joke obvs).

Last edited 11 months ago by Mike Downing
Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

I will try harder next time! This is the encouragement I need! 🙂

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

I will try harder next time! This is the encouragement I need! 🙂

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

“”progressive commitment to mass female employment – without the necessary childcare provision” – The low birth rate predicts trouble ahead. See Japan and the coming demographic collapse we all are facing. Apparently progressives can’t be the future. Whether less skilled immigration can rise to help keep the electricity flowing seems an issue.

Kat L
Kat L
11 months ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

We don’t need that, society will adjust.

Kat L
Kat L
11 months ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

We don’t need that, society will adjust.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

I wish you’d stop being so mealy-mouthed and call a spade a spade ♠ (joke obvs).

Last edited 11 months ago by Mike Downing
Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

“”progressive commitment to mass female employment – without the necessary childcare provision” – The low birth rate predicts trouble ahead. See Japan and the coming demographic collapse we all are facing. Apparently progressives can’t be the future. Whether less skilled immigration can rise to help keep the electricity flowing seems an issue.

Susan Grabston
Susan Grabston
11 months ago

I think the population worm has turned. UK emigration is a footnote in the data, but meaningful numbers are leaving. For the rest the uniparty convergence is becoming intolerable. In the recent by elections apathy was the big winner, but I sense anger is hard on its heels. Certainly Hillingdon, where we live, has a dissenting vibe. Tinderbox moments are increasing?

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
11 months ago
Reply to  Susan Grabston

Is anything said locally about the resignation of David Williams from the Labour party and being its local chair?
He narrowly lost as Labour candidate in 1997 to the very popular Conservative, Michael Shersby, his local popularity and respect being the key.
After Shersby’s very unexpected death six months later, Williams was passed over for a Labour central office place man.
For me, then living in Uxbridge, that demonstrated how local party members are just fodder. A small pointer to the wider rottenness in our politics.

Sophy T
Sophy T
11 months ago
Reply to  Susan Grabston

Where are they leaving to?

Tom Shaw
Tom Shaw
11 months ago
Reply to  Sophy T

We’ve reached the stage tax-exiles are leaving for Italy!

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
11 months ago
Reply to  Tom Shaw

A beautiful country. Bella Italia! And a fightin’ broad running the place as a bonus.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
11 months ago
Reply to  Tom Shaw

A beautiful country. Bella Italia! And a fightin’ broad running the place as a bonus.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Sophy T

Australia and New Zealand.

Tom Shaw
Tom Shaw
11 months ago
Reply to  Sophy T

We’ve reached the stage tax-exiles are leaving for Italy!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Sophy T

Australia and New Zealand.

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
11 months ago
Reply to  Susan Grabston

Is anything said locally about the resignation of David Williams from the Labour party and being its local chair?
He narrowly lost as Labour candidate in 1997 to the very popular Conservative, Michael Shersby, his local popularity and respect being the key.
After Shersby’s very unexpected death six months later, Williams was passed over for a Labour central office place man.
For me, then living in Uxbridge, that demonstrated how local party members are just fodder. A small pointer to the wider rottenness in our politics.

Sophy T
Sophy T
11 months ago
Reply to  Susan Grabston

Where are they leaving to?

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
11 months ago

Yes, there have been a few recent pushbacks to the overt deranged credos (Net Zero Extreme & Extreme Trans) promoted by our entire political legal class and the captured fully propagandist media. But they only occured because a few true facts ‘escaped’ BBC Newspeak. I think this description of nihilsm and the snapping of societal vitality is accurate for the UK too. If we agree that meritocratic free enterprise and bucaneering capitalist adventure is the prime source of prosperity, then there are now no grounds for hope. The rival progressive left are innately hostile to enterprise and have since 97 and with the craven support of Wet Cameron May and their loathsome Lib Dem fellow travellers – re shaped our entire society to promote increasingly Extreme Equalitarian progressive ideals. Wealth creation is now a discriminatory hate crime (cue yelling at idea of tax cuts for Rich). Social engineering has utterly hollowed out our state education/exam system & eaten out a rapacious China loving uni sector. We now do not just have Labours reflex windfall taxes and non dom rage. It goes so much deeper. We are sinking under a culture of Hooman Right Greviance and Entitlement, corrupted welfarism and punishing taxation on SMEs. State finances ruined by insane money tree theory are further groaning under the weight of a vast bloated non productive Army of Quangos Regulators & so called Charities. We inhabit a Neo Keynsian Lalaland. ESG madness has infected our once dynamic financial sector whilst the progressive commitment to mass female employment – without the necessary childcare provision – means for example that the battered NHS cannot ever operate 24/7 as it is deemed ‘anti women’ by newly deranged public sector trade unions. Three decades of this Blairism and the horrors of wokery since the EQA of 2015 has polluted the public space with hysteria and hate and encrusted decline on every captured state institution. A Thatcher like revolution and pushback seems just impossible. The Elite have conquered the loathed Brexiteers and intend to punish the wayward grifters with net zero waterboarding. No one powerful in the political class is fighting these core nihilistic values of the Left in the State in schools in law and in the media. Certainly not the Fellow Travelling Furlo Fake socialist Tories. So the poison just sinks deeper and deeper, just as is happening in America. Nihilism is indeed the word.

Susan Grabston
Susan Grabston
11 months ago

I think the population worm has turned. UK emigration is a footnote in the data, but meaningful numbers are leaving. For the rest the uniparty convergence is becoming intolerable. In the recent by elections apathy was the big winner, but I sense anger is hard on its heels. Certainly Hillingdon, where we live, has a dissenting vibe. Tinderbox moments are increasing?

michael harris
michael harris
11 months ago

Unfortunately, Andrew, Bud Light sales are down but still substantial. Hard times still hardening.
Besides,the hard times, strong men etc. cycle doesn’t always hold. Empires and civilisations do collapse.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
11 months ago
Reply to  michael harris

Yes, exactly. That is the “hard times” moment in the cycle… as a result of the collapse, “strong men” will emerge who create the “good times” again. The cycle applies best to very long time periods. I doubt any of us will see the “good times” come around again.

michael harris
michael harris
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

But the strong men, Amy, may be conquerors.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
11 months ago
Reply to  michael harris

No, only weak men seek to conquer

michael harris
michael harris
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

And those who succeed?

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
11 months ago
Reply to  michael harris

…create the hard times from which strong men emerge… who then create the good times. That’s the cycle. It works on many levels, too, from the individual to the national.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

I think you need to define what you mean by weak and strong.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

I think you need to define what you mean by weak and strong.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
11 months ago
Reply to  michael harris

…create the hard times from which strong men emerge… who then create the good times. That’s the cycle. It works on many levels, too, from the individual to the national.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

Nah.

michael harris
michael harris
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

And those who succeed?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

Nah.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
11 months ago
Reply to  michael harris

No, only weak men seek to conquer

michael harris
michael harris
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

But the strong men, Amy, may be conquerors.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  michael harris

Especially with climate change as well.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
11 months ago
Reply to  michael harris

Yes, exactly. That is the “hard times” moment in the cycle… as a result of the collapse, “strong men” will emerge who create the “good times” again. The cycle applies best to very long time periods. I doubt any of us will see the “good times” come around again.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  michael harris

Especially with climate change as well.

Kat L
Kat L
11 months ago

I would agree with all of this except that I do not think it will be a sweep. It should have been a sweep in the midterms.

Rob N
Rob N
11 months ago

Can but hope but I fear they have too tight a grip on power and, especially, the media that sustains it.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
11 months ago

Absolutely! When I first saw a depiction of that cycle (strong men make good times, good times make weak men, weak men make hard times, hard times make strong men) it helped me make sense of what is happening in our world. The bit it doesn’t mention is how many FAKE “strong men” will try to assert themselves when it becomes obvious everything is collapsing. They are just new narcissists trying to capitalise on the instability. I think the REAL “strong men” are quiet and understated, working behind the scenes in their institutions to maintain some kind of sense and order whilst all around them are losing their heads. I see glimpses of their actions here and there, and it gives me hope we are approaching the next phase of the cycle.

Last edited 11 months ago by Amy Harris
Steven Targett
Steven Targett
11 months ago

One can but hope. The narcissistic self destruction inflicted on us by the woke is deeply depressing.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope